Jobbik was founded in 2003. Its “military wing,” the Hungarian Guard, known for its black uniforms and fascist insignia, was banned in 2009. Yet its members still turn out at Jobbik demonstrations, under the noses of the police, and Jobbik members themselves wear fascist getups at such events.
Unlike most European far-right movements, Jobbik’s targets do not include immigrants, of whom there are few in the country. Instead its villains are Roma—there are about 700,000 in Hungary; and Jews, for whom population estimates range from 50,000 to 100,000 or about .5 percent of the total population.
Jobbik’s anti-Roma activity is often violent, as in an August 2012 demonstration at a village in western Hungary. During that event Jobbik members “threw pieces of concrete and other missiles at Roma houses”; the police were notable for their nonintervention. Afterward vigilante groups roamed the village for nearly a month, threatening and harassing Romani residents.
As for the Jews, despite their small number in Hungary—down from close to a million before the Holocaust—Jobbik sees the country as caught in sinister Jewish intrigues and issues frequent antisemitic statements.
In April 2012, on the eve of Passover, Jobbik MP Zsolt Baráth gave a speech in parliament “commemorating” an anti-Jewish blood libel from 1882. A few days before Passover that year, a young girl named Eszter Solymosi disappeared in a Hungarian village. A group of 13 Jews, arrested on charges of murdering her to drain her blood for ritual purposes, was acquitted after a six-week trial.
Yet, reports Tablet Magazine, a memorial constructed in the girl’s honor several years ago “is a pilgrimage spot for Jobbik members and other far-right activists.”
When last May Budapest hosted an assembly of the World Jewish Congress, Jobbik rallied in protest and called it a “Jewish attempt to buy up Hungary.” Some of the demonstrators, the BBC reported, “wore the black uniform of…the Hungarian Guard.” Jobbik leader Gabor Vona proclaimed: “The Israeli conquerors, these investors, should look for another country in the world for themselves because Hungary is not for sale.”